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New CO alarm regulations are here; what now?

Don’t be alarmed; be ready: as of the 1 October, 2022 landlords are required to take responsibility for the installation of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in specified areas let as living accommodation.

This follows seven years of in-depth consultation to finalize amendments to the 2015 Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations to create safer homes for residents.

A Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm is a device that detects the presence of CO to prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Annually causing about 20 deaths, 200 major injuries, which require hospitalization, and 4 000 minor injuries, measures had to be taken to snuff out the colourless, odourless and tasteless “silent killer” known as Carbon Monoxide poisoning in the home.

Because CO is almost impossible to detect without a CO alarm, and symptoms are similar to that of flu, poisoning is often wrongly diagnosed as flu, and patients miss out on the appropriate treatment for this life-threatening condition.

The new Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations introduce three key safety measures to new and existing homes in the private and social rental markets, as well as owner occupied premises.

Going forward, social landlords will be required to ensure that at least one smoke alarm is installed on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partially as living accommodation. Private and social landlords are also required to install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation, where a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers) is used.

Furthermore, amendments to the statutory guidance, supporting Part J of the Building Regulations, require that carbon monoxide alarms are fitted alongside the installation of fixed combustion appliances of any fuel type (excluding gas cookers).

While these changes offer clear benefits to residents, how will it impact property owners, lenders, estate agents and social housing? As we said in the opening line of this article: don’t be alarmed; be ready.

The additional impact on private and social landlords will be negligible. While the cost to house builders and owner occupiers would be about £208 million over ten years, the assessed benefits will add up to about £183 million over a 20-year period. These benefits are calculated by estimating the monitised health benefit through reduced fatalities and injuries.

It is estimated that owner-occupiers will spend about £27 per additional alarm, including parts and installation. However, over time, the cost of alarms is expected to drop, while the average lifespan of these devices is expected to improve.

While there will be a small increased impact on smaller landlords, they are not expected to be disproportionately affected.

For more information on CO Alarms and possible solutions for your property portfolio, contact us. 

Issued by Vibrant, 3 November 2022.


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